Firstly, Happy New Year and welcome back to our spring term 2018 where it may start off dark in the mornings but then begins to get lighter and lighter again as the evenings draw in.
I hope you had a lovely and restful break and have managed to re-charge your batteries ready for what is a short, but very busy new term.
Last Wednesday we had a staff inset day, which really got us excited for the new term as we learned all about visualisers. These are machines a bit like the old-fashioned overhead projector (OHPs)- which really took me back to when I trained to be a teacher- it was my favourite piece of equipment. In fact, I had a rather enviable collection of OHP pens in assorted colours! As with everything, it has had a makeover. The new machines are linked to the teachers’ computers and can display anything you put underneath its bulb, (unlike an OHP where everything had to be on a special acetate sheet). The idea is you can quickly show the class other students’ work and sample answers, you can annotate “live” and even take a picture of someone’s work before and then display the after piece of work side by side once improvements have been made. We were all very excited and are keen to use these machines in our lessons.
The students also had a busy start to the term with Year 13 beginning their Pre-Public Exams (PPEs- previously known as “mocks”) last week and the Year 11s on countdown to start theirs this Thursday. I have spoken to many students from Year 11 and 13 this week and what is clear is that in addition to a well-earned rest, they really have made great use of the holidays to revise and prepare themselves for the exams.
Elsewhere in the school, we have House cross country in PE and Epiphany celebrations in French lessons. Thanks to Miss Godfrey and Mrs Davis respectively for organising these events.
Mrs Kennedy and I are leading the first assemblies of the term, as is tradition. Our theme, quite aptly, post-Christmas is gratitude. Whilst we do link it to thanking people for doing kind things or giving us things, our main point is to explain how being grateful actually links to our happiness and wellbeing. We are encouraging the students to have an “attitude of gratitude”; that gratitude is not just an action, ie saying thank-you, but it is actually a positive emotion, which serves a genuine purpose in life, as feeling genuinely grateful stimulates a sense of obligation in us that arises naturally and then makes us want to do good things for others.
We also referred back the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who we first introduced when we led assemblies on stoicism last term, as he was also an advocate of gratitude. Marcus was powerful and successful in his day and his key point was that you can still be ambitious and successful in life and be grateful and want to do nice things for other people. The tutor groups are all thinking about what is on their “grateful list” as part of our Thought For The Week.
Also this week, the Year 9 students began their options process with an introductory assembly led by Mr Adams. They were each given the options booklet to take home to read and share with their parents. If you have a daughter in Year 9, we look forward to welcoming you to the GCSE options evening next Thursday 18th January where you can find out more about the options and the process and ask any questions you may have.